A common question I often hear from pastors and worship leaders is, “How do I grow my worship team?” It doesn’t matter the size or location of your church, it’s an issue we all have dealt with. So let’s talk about some practical ways to grow your team.
Over the years I have observed one thing about musicians. Especially musicians within the church. The really good ones will never speak up. Tell me the last time a killer lead guitar player came up to you after the service and said, “I’m your next lead guitar player.” And it actually worked out.
No, most of the time the musicians that can really play are a little more silent about their abilities. They come in and observe. Taking it all in. They may even come up and tell you how much they have enjoyed the music. But they rarely, if ever, let on to the reality that they can play.
This can be frustrating as a leader. Weeks later you find out the guy you have been talking to is a super talented musician. You have been promoting for weeks. There have been announcements about how desperately you need players. But he never says anything. As soon as you talk to him about it, he lets you know that he would be glad to help out. What???
With this being the case what should we be doing differently? How can you overcome the silent treatment and really start growing your team in a healthy way? Let’s talk about 4 out of the box ways to grow your worship team.
Make your vision clear
When it comes to our worship team we know exactly what we want (and need) to see happen. We know where we are headed. We have a vision. But how many of your church members know that vision? It’s really easy to think that everyone knows where we are headed, but do they really?
I would bet that most of the church has no idea what you would like to see happen with the worship ministry. If they don’t know the vision, how can they get behind it? I believe that if you can make your vision clear and compelling, musicians will actually start to find you.
Try this: Write up a quick blog post or shoot a short video explaining the vision for your team. If you want to write your own songs, talk about it. If you want to have rotating bands, tell them. Be specific. (This might force you to sit down and actually think about you want it to look like.) Post it on your church’s website. Then ask your pastor if you could share your vision with the church. In doing so you will begin to focus the whole church and not just those you are leading.
Have high standards
Wait a minute. How is having high standards going to help me grow my team? Isn’t that counter productive? Let’s look at it this way. Take the musician we were talking about earlier. The guy who can really play. The only way that he is going move from his seat to the stage is if he feels like he could fit in. He doesn’t want to be the best player on the stage. He wants to grow too.
When you team consists of a handful of mediocre players that aren’t producing a distraction-free worship experience, the best players are not going to want to join. This is why having high standards is so important. Don’t just put anyone up there because you are desperate. When you begin to raise the bar it might be difficult at first, but you will be amazed at how many times your stands will be met by your people.
Try this: Put together a list of all the positions you would like to see on a typical Sunday. For each of those positions write out what someone in that position would need to do. Remember, think high standards. Next time you have someone wanting to audition, use this list as a guide to help you make your decision.
Start a music school
I think we all could agree that the best way to grow your team is by investing in the next generation. What are you doing now to help the young aspiring musicians of your church? This is one of your best assets but is also often overlooked. Especially when you are doing all that you can to keep your head above water most weeks anyway.
Have you ever thought about opening up your building for music lessons during the week? Maybe this isn’t something you personally do, but someone in your church would be willing to do. Offering basic lessons for drums, bass, guitar, piano, and voice is a great way to raise up young talent. It will take some work, but the payoff will out way the work every time.
Try this: Put together a quick survey via Google Sheets. Send it out to your church to see if there would be any interest in offering lessons at the church. Using this survey will be a great way to put statistics to your idea. If it seems like there is an interest, get to work and watch how your team grows through investing in the next generation.
Invest in your creatives
This is a soapbox idea for me. I strongly believe that the church needs to begin to take better care of their creatives. For too long, it’s always been about how they can join what the church is doing. Can you play on the worship team? Can you write songs that we can sing together? Can you plug into our ministry opportunities? I believe that artists can be used in a more powerful way.
What would it look like if we began to equip our creatives to create the art that lives inside of them? What if we began to champion what they saw and not the other way around? Now that’s scary because what if their art isn’t very corporate? What if the song they write talks about their failed marriage and the battle with depression that followed? Or they question if God really exists? Real. Raw. Art. Let’s stop trying to put our creatives in a box and let’s partner with them to create art that tells the story of God.
Try this: I dare you to begin to pray about ways that you can begin to invest in your creative community. Boldly ask God to show you a way to help equip the artists in your church to begin to create their best work and tell their best stories. Then…do what he says.
If you have been around the church for any length of time you know that there are a hundred different ways to grow your worship team. That doesn’t mean that anyway is the best way or the simplest of ways. It takes time and effort and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. It’s a calling, not a job.
I do hope that these slightly unconventional ways of looking at building your worship team will inspire you to step out and try something new. If I was sitting with you today I would suggest trying number 4 in some way. It’s not clean and simple, but it’s what I feel is best for the “big C” Church moving forward. What do you think?
Question: What are some unconventional ways that have helped you grow your worship team?